Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – More and more people are getting past the TSA at Hancock without going through the usual security line.
The new pre-check system is designed to make it easier for passengers to get to their plane by cutting out the normal security routine.
The pre-check program has been up and running for few weeks now in Syracuse, and security officials say it’s making things smoother and safer there.
The dedicated pre-check lane at Hancock was steady – and also surprising to many going through it on Tuesday.
Many travelers who were passing through Hancock had been randomly selected for pre-screening and they described positive experiences.
"You come two hours early because you're going to get strip searched and checked and everything and now you come through and it's a breeze,” said Larry Simone, who was traveling home to Texas.
"We've never liked to have to put our hands on people to search for prohibited items or something dangerous so this gives us a new level of comfort too,” said Finger Lakes Region Federal Security Director John McCaffrey.
McCaffery says the TSA is moving away from a “one size fits all” approach.
He says their databases have grown and there’s actually a lot of security behind the scene, like information we give when booking flights that can be used for background checks.
The information allows the TSA to concentrate on the very, very small percentage of people who are off the radar and may present a problem.
"Now that we have these layers of security under Risk Based Screening, we know a lot about the passengers coming through and we kind of know what we're looking for so we can do this process,” McCaffrey said.
"It was fabulous just to put the stuff on the conveyor belt and just walk right through,” said Barbara Simone after passing through pre-check.
Customers appreciated the lack of invasive security measures.
"It's a huge relief. They told me to keep my shoes on, keep my belt on, and I didn't even have to take my liquids out so it really sped up the process,” said Donna Kouwe, who was randomly selected for pre check.
Signing up for pre-check will require an in-person interview and fingerprinting. Only Indianapolis and Washington Dulles are handling those steps.
McCaffery says they are trying to expand the offering to more airports nationwide.
There are a number of other ways one can be enrolled in the program, including through your airline.
More information is available on the TSA’s website